Friday, January 14, 2011
We could not have asked for better weather conditions on Tuesday, DEC 19—sunny and warm, our first blessing of the day—perfect for our Annual Children’s Christmas Party at the Centro de Recreo UNA, located in Barrio Santa Luiza, near Heredia. As early as 7 AM, volunteers (our second blessing!) began to trickle into our house and load up 4 vehicles, including two trucks donated by Himalaya Aryuveda Distributors, worth of donated gifts, food, decorations (thank you, Haley Cooney!), and about 8 volunteers. Again, so many blessings!
Over 160 children, and their mothers, arrived on 3 festive buses from La Carpio (the slums of San Jose, Costa Rica) just shy of 9 AM. Several group games, a mini-moon bounce, and a huge inflatable slide, with a side of cookie and juice snacks, were ready for the onslaught of excited (this is a gross understatement!) kids. The children were divided into two groups—half went to participate in outdoor group games and the playground first, while the other half went to the pool!
Gratefully, several other volunteers joined us later in the morning, including Craig and Agnes Lamb, and our “official” party-photographer, Ellen Lazare. While the kids were playing and mothers cooking lunch, we set up the “sala” for the afternoon Christmas Music Show (a beautiful performance by students of the University of Costa Rica orchestra); for Santa’s visit; and of course-- the distribution of gifts! While the children were swimming in the pools, flopping around on large inflatable things, or playing fooz-ball and ping pong in the recreation room, the mothers prepared and served a lunch picnic of arroz con pollo and juice.
After lunch, everyone gathered in the sala for a sing-a-long Christmas music concert and the much-anticipated visit from Santa, with two of his helpers. During the concert, ice cream and cake were served. A special little birthday cake was made for Fabiola who just happened to turn 15 yesterday! Then the madness began… as Santa handed out over 170 gifts to each child! Each present was individually wrapped and addressed to each child. CHAOS!
The party ended about 3 pm—each child armed with a gift, a little snack bag of candy and fruit, and a HUGE smile on his or her face. Just so you know, the children were truly grateful—endless “Gracias” and lots of hugs, even tears both from kids and mothers in gratitude. It was truly a special day, not just for the kids and their mothers, but for us as well. This is what love looks like.
A heart-felt thank you to everyone (and there are many!) who contributed in some way to this very memorable event.
Kelly N Patterson